This article explains the Entry to Exit of the Employees in HR Role. It is important to note that managing people is a process, and like all processes, it has a beginning and an end. As a process, human resource management has the following: entry, stay and exit of people into and out of the organization. The article, therefore, defines human resource management and identifies various activities that a human resource department performs as part of the process. Towards the end, the report distinguishes human resource management from personnel management.
What is human resource management?
According to Edwin Flippo, human resource management is the process of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the procurement and development, compensation, integration, maintenance, and separation of human resources to the end that individual group and organizational and social objectives are achieved. On the other hand, others define human resource management as the process of recruiting, selecting, inducting employees, providing orientation, imparting training and development, appraising the performance of employees.
According to Armstrong, human resource management is a strategic integrated and coherent approach to the employment, development, and wellbeing of people working in organizations.
While Cummings argues that human resource management is about finding the best potential for an organization and giving them jobs and caring for them, others, on the other hand. Employees and includes various functions such as human resource planning, job analysis, recruitment and conducting job interviews, human resource selection, orienting, training.
Providing compensation, benefits and incentives, evaluation, retention, career planning, quality of work-life, employee discipline, human resource auditing, maintenance of industrial relations, employee welfare care and safety issues, communicating with employees at all levels and local, Maintain awareness and compliance with state and federal labour laws.
Katorobo defines human resource management as managing the entry, stay, and exit of people in organizations. However, it should be noted that the ‘stay’ is not permanent since, with time, there will be a separation of the organization and the employee. In other words, employees will enter the organization, stay in the organization and eventually exit leave the organization. We now examine each phase one after another and the activities involved.
From the few definitions given above, it is evident that human resource management deals with the people management process, which includes ensuring that the right people have been brought into the organization. Again, once in the organization, the selected and later appointed people will be allocated their jobs. They will perform these jobs for the good of themselves as individuals and the organization. In other words, they will perform various activities based on the department they are working in, and management shall undertake multiple activities to ensure that the individuals brought into the organization are productive to the organization. In contrast, the organization takes care of their welfare. This provides a mutuality of interest between the individual and the organization.
Human resource management as the management of entry
As pointed above, human resource management is the study of all human-related practices performed in an organizational milieu ranging from entry, stay, and exit of employees. During the process of engaging a prospective candidate into the organization, there will be a variety of activities that need to be performed and managed by the human resource function. In this case, the entrance of a prospective candidate into the organization relates to the recruitment process, which is composed of techniques like human resources planning, job analysis, personal specification development, sourcing of candidates by social networking, advertising including other search methods, matching candidates to job requirements and screening individuals using testing (skills or personality test), assessment of candidates’ motivations and how they fit into the organizational needs. The recruitment process also includes the making and finalizing of job offers and the induction and welcoming of new employees as they join the organization. The following are some activities involved in entry into the organization: human resource planning, recruitment, selection, reference checks, and induction or orientation.
Human resource planning is a vital part of business planning which shows the number of people wanted in quantitative and qualitative terms. It is an attempt to ensure that the organization envisages for it to achieve its business goal have a corresponding number of people who can perform the planned activities. One cannot imagine an organization with too many activities to perform but with a limited number of employees. Such an organization will stress people unnecessarily, and productivity will be affected negatively. Thus, the planning team is expected to review the human resource plan to examine the future human resource requirements using the organization’s business plan. The team makes projections of the number of employees to be employed. For example, in a university, a faculty would need a dean and two lecturers in each department, especially when the student enrollment is low at the start of the university. The faculty will also need an administrator and a secretary after identifying the number and type of people wanted.
Once the number of persons to be employed to implement the organization’s plan, a deliberate process of examining the various jobs shall be done. This is called job analysis, seeking information for each job. The job analysis process leads to the development of job descriptions and job specifications. In a university setting, job descriptions will be developed to find people who fit the jobs: lecturers, administrators, accounting staff, among others. New positions might be created, resulting in recruitment for the first time. In this case, job analysis or a task analysis will be undertaken by the human resource function to document the actual or intended requirements of the job. The human resource management function should have all the relevant information captured in such documents as job descriptions and job specifications from job analysis excise. This is in line with Werbel and Demarie. They view the job analysis concept as a person-job fit that involves matching employees, skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform specific job-related tasks in the work environment.
According to Torrington and Hall, recruitment is attracting applicants with specific skills, abilities, and other personal characteristics to job vacancies in an organization. Having come up with the job descriptions, the Human resource department has to decide how it is going to recruit.
For a dean’s position in a university, the HR department can consider advertising internally to allow existing academic staff to apply. In case of a desire to get more competitive candidates from outside, the advertisement can be floated in the local papers and internationally. There might also be a need for headhunting if the best candidates are already known.
After receiving applications, the human resource department sifts them to find the ideal candidates based on the person specification. There are a lot of variables to be considered in most cases. In most cases, qualifications and experience are used to select candidates. Experience would be of paramount importance, especially when dealing with a new establishment like a new faculty due to the smooth flow of teaching and learning. Interviews would be used for the position of secretary and administrator. One-on-one consultations are done to get as much information from the applicant as possible. For lecturers, for example, apart from the interviews, the candidate would be required to do practical teaching to be assessed to determine the effectiveness with which the candidate teaches. This is because of the nature of the job, which involves both theory and practical skills. Psychometric tests would be done to match the lecturer’s personality to the job. Selection is made so that it aligns the individual candidate with the business plan, that is, of recruiting enterprising and innovative employees as this would help the organization achieve its objectives. The human resource function has to certify a prospective employee’s suitability by looking for relevant skills, knowledge, aptitude, qualifications, and educational or job-related experience before engaging the new candidate. These can be determined through screening curriculum vitae, job applications, and interviews. Human resource practitioners in the organization can also use proactive identification methods, including performance assessments, psychological tests, aptitude tests, numeracy, and literacy tests. Other HR personnel may also use applicant tracking systems to perform the filtering process and software tools for psychometric testing and performance-based assessment.
This is crucial since these days of impression management; people tend to put a lot of attractive information on their curriculum vitae to impress others and widen their chances of being employed.
According to Armstrong, reference checks are done to obtain in confidence factual information about a prospective employee and options about their character and suitability for a job. There is a need to check if the information that has been provided is correct so that the organization employs the person who fits the job. In other organizations, the applicant must seek reference letters, which attach them to the application documents well before the interviews. However, others prefer to call for references after the interviews and after the organization is satisfied that the candidate is suitable for employment. The organization then writes the referees sourced from the applicant’s curriculum vitae. This is to be done in confidence.
Once the suitable candidate has been appointed and has reported for duties, the employee must be introduced and socialized into the organization. Employees are inducted so that they can fit into the organization’s culture. When employees join the organization, they will be given handbooks that might include the business plan and the strategic plan to understand and share the organization’s vision. The purpose of induction is to introduce the newly appointed staff to the organization and their role in it and ensure their effective integration for the benefit of the individual and the organization. It will be easy for the new employees to adjust if they know where the organization is going in terms of its vision, mission, and values. These shared values result in increased commitment and employee engagement, leading to quality goods and services. On-the-job training can also be done to benefit new graduate employees or even secretaries. They can also be given someone to be their mentor to learn the requirements of the job from an experienced person, popularly known as the mentor and mentee relationship.
The Management of Stay
Once an individual has entered the organization, the organization expects that the employee will stay, be committed to working hard, and therefore contribute to the process of producing goods and services. For an individual to survive and remain productive, the organization’s human resource department is expected to manage aspects of employee stay in the organization. The central elements of the human resource management field are the policies, practices, and systems that influence employees’ behaviour, attitudes, and performance in an organization. The process of entry into the organization is not an end in itself. The first phase is intended to bring people who will staff the organization and perform certain activities for which they were employed. This attempts to support the business strategy by ensuring that the recruited personnel stays and deliver results to the organization. By influencing who works for the organization and how those people work, human resource management contributes to basic measures of an organization’s performance such as quality, profitability, and customer satisfaction. This aspect needs to be well managed by the HR personnel to ensure that the success of the business becomes certain.
The concept of “human resource management” also implies that employees are the employer’s resources.
To stay and remain productive, the human resource department is expected to manage training and development, reward management, performance management, health, and safety, among other activities to be explained in this book.
Training and development
Some areas of the human resource function include activities aimed at improving the employee’s knowledge, skills, and competence-base. Training and development are part of the improvement of human resources in organizations.
According to De Cenzo and Robbins (1994), training is a learning experience. Although organizations support their hiring decisions on candidates’ existing qualifications, most organisations provide ways for their employees to broaden or deepen their knowledge, skills, and abilities. To do this, organisations should provide employee training and development. Development involves acquiring knowledge, skills, and behaviour that improve employees’ ability to meet the challenges of various new or existing jobs, including the client and customer demands of those jobs. Training and development should be well-managed by the Human Resources personnel such that the performance of the organization is continuously improved.
New and old employees may need training, especially when they have been promoted or when there is a new technology that changes the way their job is done. According to Werbel and DeMarie, training needs to be individualized given that every individual has different strengths and weaknesses and that training typically focuses on improving an individualized weakness. It should also focus on maximizing an individual worker’s job proficiency at the tasks specified in the job analysis. That is why most national training institutions conduct in-service induction, command, and promotional courses.
For example, suppose a lecturer is failing to facilitate teaching and learning. In that case, they can be trained in pedagogical skills such as approaches to learning, classroom management, teaching methods, how to involve students, among other things. If the lecturer fails to produce publishable papers, the lecturer can be trained by senior academic staff. All this training is done so that the lecturer can fit and contribute towards the business strategy meaningfully. Training motivates employees because when they can deliver their duties, they become committed to their work, resulting in higher productivity.
Although people enjoy their jobs and feel good about themselves, they cannot continue to work if they are not rewarded for their effort. One of the biggest challenges in attracting good employees is failing to provide rewards that can make people stay and remain productive.
Rewarding is an essential tool in making the organization an organization of choice. Total rewarding can reinforce wanted behaviours that are aligned with the business strategy. Rewarding can either be financial or non-financial. In many organizations, financial and non-financial rewards are used to achieve their business strategy. In academic institutions, lecturers are encouraged to research because this is a vital function of an educational institution. In others, they are given research grants to conduct research. Furthermore, after they have published their papers in peer-reviewed journals, they are also given an incentive to promote, merit increase, or further research grants to ensure they continue doing research. This motivates academics to do more and more study hence raising the world standing of the university.
The HR function’s role is to ensure that the reward system is well managed so that the organization can keep hold of its experienced staff. Besides, since, in most cases, business objectives are directly related to employee motivation, the reward system should be handled carefully. The HR function needs to set a solid reward system that requires concerted attention concerning its development. Well designed and managed reward system will result in employee contentment, thereby elongating their lifeline with the organization and thereby helping the organization to be more competitive, retain key employees, and reduce staff turnover (Hurd, Barcelona, Meldrum) argue that since people are the most crucial resource for organizational competitiveness and survival, keeping them on the job is an essential task for all managers. This justifies the view that HRM is a discipline that emphasizes the management of entry, stays, and exit of people in the organization.
The employment of people would be meaningless if the people came to the organization and failed to perform. Through the performance of various business activities of the organization, the latter achieves its goals and therefore realizes its vision.
A lecturer’s performance can be measured using the following key performance areas: teaching, research, and community service, and the key result areas would be marking, designing a module outline, delivering lectures, and setting and marking examinations. If a lecturer is performing well and has managed to publish articles in refereed journals, they can be promoted. The lecturer can also be given an annual bonus for doing well. This will motivate the employee to work hard and develop organizational citizenship. The performance of an organization is a sum of individual performances put together.
The financial value of companies depends upon the quality of talent available in the company. There are rare and more marketable skills that need to be maintained at any cost if the organization maintains its competitive advantage. Talent can be bought outside the organization through aggressive advertising and competitive reward systems or by growing it within the organization through training and development. Managing rare talented individuals is crucial to the human resource function as it guarantees organizational success. Hence talent management is an important human resource management activity to ensure that employees stay.
Employee relations is another critical area that ensures employees’ stay in an organization.
The Human Resource department can design and implement human capital management programs and initiatives. However, it is employee relations that will determine the success of those programs. A healthy employer-employee relationship goes a long way in motivating the employees and increasing their confidence and morale, enhancing effective communication among team members. It has been observed that poor communication leads to confusion and misunderstandings on what to do and what not to do. Lousy communication does affect the performance of the organization. The HR function must ensure that it designs effective open two-way communication systems vertically and horizontally, and laterally. If poorly managed, employee relations can bring in a hostile organizational climate, industrial conflict and a ‘them and us’ syndrome, and a deep sense of mistrust between management and employees. Since employee relations directly influence the overall output in the organization, if it’s not managed well, an organization can experience a mass exodus of talent.
So from the explanation given above, managers must create a good quality working environment in which every employee contributes all of their talents and skills to the success of organizational goals.
After an employee has worked for an organization, the time comes when they have to exit from the system. This can be done voluntarily or involuntarily without the employee’s consent. Voluntary exit occurs when an employee resigns, which may be caused by various factors like poor relations with subordinates or superiors and maybe a result of other family commitments. People may also leave to join other organizations with better benefits and working conditions than their employers. During this exit period, the HR function has to perform various administrative duties like processing employees’ leave days, pensions, and outstanding salaries, which might be pending. Human resource managers need to conduct exit interviews for the HR personnel to find the reason behind the resignation and ensure that the organization improves its conditions of service in the future. Running employee clearance where the worker is supposed to return materials, equipment, and any other possession that belong to the organization is an essential aspect of exit management.
Under involuntary exit, the worker separates from the organization due to factors beyond their control. Automatic exit may take the form of reduction, dismissal, and termination of the contract. The exit can also be caused by the death of the workers or can be a result of illness which incapacitates the workers from performing their contractual duties. After these circumstances, the HR function should perform all obligatory tasks associated with them like retrenchment packages, payment of outstanding salaries, and claiming organizational possessions from outgoing workers.
According to Berger and Luckman, it is not apt to confine the study of human resource management to internal processes within the organization alone as the external environment strongly influences the subject. The external contexts of human resource management are essential because HR practices are socially embedded in broader, institutional, and external contexts. Thus, organizations are affected by external forces that require managers to adapt their internal organizational structures and behaviours to deal with them.
Exit from the organization can occur for various reasons. Some leave because they have come to the end of their career or found another employment. Others leave due to redundancy, poor performance, dismissal, retirement, and death. Involuntarily going to an organization can be stressful to the employee and pose challenges to the employers.
How different is human resource management from personnel management?
There was no literature on human resource management in the 1980s and before as the field dealing with managing people in organizations was called personnel management. The 1990s saw a significant shift from personnel management to human resource management, especially in Malawi. Even the department responsible for managing human resources in the Malawi public service, known as the Department of Personnel Management and Training, was renamed the Department of Human Resource Management and Development. All personnel officers became human resource officers. This shift is of great importance at both the theoretical and practical levels. Over the years, some have shifted from human resource management to human capital management, while others talk of talent management. What is human resource management? How different is it from personnel management?
This is a clear departure from traditional personnel management. On the other hand, personnel management has a narrow, functional outlook with little appreciation of the business strategy and the need to be competitive. While human resources management connotes the integration and direct link with other organizational functions such as production, marketing, procurement, engineering, and finance, personnel management is far from linking with different tasks in the organization.
Again, personnel management embraces the work of “clerks of work” and contract managers. At the same time, human resource management embraces the work of the architect where managers are not conformists of the system but are not only very innovative but also understand the strategic nature of the discipline. Not only do they take a helicopter view of the doing business, but they take a fully visionary approach.
In a comparative analysis between the two concepts, Tyson distinguished personnel management from human resource management by asserting that traditional personnel management makes people work as managers but not think as managers because of their lack of understanding of their value and contribution to the organization beyond their level of operation. Traditional personnel management is seen as an operational firefighting role. It features technical skills and functions like recruitment and selection, training, salary administration, performance appraisal, and industrial relations as separate and disjointed activities. Human resource management, on the other side links or integrates all activities and the overall business strategy. Armstrong views traditional personnel management as a type of management with a collection of incidental techniques without much internal cohesion between these activities. He cites an example where an employee was sent for training under traditional personnel management simply because it was regarded as merely necessary but without properly linking it to the overall business objectives. Thus, there are both vertical integrations of the human resource strategy to the overall business strategy of the organization as well the horizontal integration of all human policies as they exist in harmony. It is seen as a proactive type of management in that it constantly looks at the organization’s future needs compared to the reactive nature of traditional personnel management.
HRM ensures that managers make decisions with a complete understanding of the implications that are likely to transpire in the future. HRM managers typically make decisions that prevent organizations from falling into lineal traps, unlike personnel management which provides a short-sighted environment that hinders its subscribers from analyzing the effects of their decision in the future, usually adopting a try-and-error approach costly to use in business.
This makes human resource management a result-oriented type of management. In contrast, traditional personnel management does programs and activities for the sake of doing them without considering the cost and benefit of doing them.
Traditional personnel management is also seen as a specialist function, which must only be done by those who specialize in it. Yet, the human resource management function stresses the need to integrate the personnel function into line managers of people in the organization. It is the responsibility of all managers to perform people-related duties.
Again personnel management vests little power or prestige in personnel managers, whereas HRM, because of its strategic nature and interest, elevates the personnel function to the strategic level. This means that HRM vests immense power on the HR managers as they can influence strategic thinking and partake strategic roles in business. The way HR managers understand the strategic nature of their jobs makes them achieve a competitive advantage through a highly committed workforce. In contrast, personnel management does not realize the strategic nature of employees in so far as gaining a competitive advantage is concerned.
However, some writers like Guest reject the view that there is a fundamental difference between them. The belief is that personnel management and human resource management are used interchangeably, making it difficult to compare and contrast them. Both personnel management strategies, like human resource management strategies, flow from the business strategy. The two management types do not exist in a stand-alone environment or stay isolated from the entire business plan. Such a school of thinking sees human resource management as ‘old juice in new bottles’; human resource management as a simple relabelling of the activities embraced by traditional personnel management.
However, there is a vast difference in terms of the value given to the function in the organization in terms of strategic positioning in practice and the overall philosophy of the two.
This article has examined the focal areas of human resource management examined in this book through Professor James Katorobo‘s framework of entry, stay, and exit. It introduces the human resource management function and outlines various activities performed in organizations under this framework. It later discusses the difference between personnel management and human resource management.